This one is for you, Pa!

appa

After hotel hopping for about three weeks in Jakarta, I finally moved into an apartment (thanks to AirBnb) which felt more like home than a hotel (I pity people who live on rigs now). Being the very first person to rent this flat after it was put up on AirBnb, I had a fair share of issues to deal with, but luckily for me, the landlord diligently took care of any issue that ever cropped up. The flat had exactly 3 electrical sockets – one each in kitchen, living and bedroom. On Day 2, the one in the kitchen stopped working. I pulled an extension cable from the socket in the living and everything worked out. Except, on day 3, the socket in the living stopped working too. Having noticed that using the electric kettle killed the power connection made me wonder if the load of the kettle had blown the fuse. I immediately checked the main circuit breaker and I was right. It was at this very magical moment that I realised why I wanted to become an engineer since I was a little girl (of course, eventually I did become one).

When we were young and there were any household electrical issues at home, Appa always knew what was wrong and he would know exactly how to fix it. Amma would say that she could not even imagine how these things work, let alone fix them because she could not think like an engineer (since she’s not one). I would find it amazing as a little girl. I thought being an engineer is like being a super hero who knows how everything works and someone who could solve all problems. I think subconsciously I wanted to be more like Appa than Amma (Ahem! just in this aspect). Even as I chose the stream of engineering, I wanted it to be closer to Electronics (because Appa is an electronics engineer) and I never understood why. But I just wanted to be. Of course, how much of electronics I learnt (or remember today) is debatable but the mission has been accomplished – I am the household technical support, repairperson, etc both at my house and my parents’ place (The concept is similar to that of a family doctor).

When I was 17, I wanted to learn to be a General Manager (like my dad, again) so I could assist him in fixing all work related issues at office just like I supported him in fixing domestic electrical/ mechanical issues. Appa had considered pursuing an MBA to become a better manager and so I figured that must be the way to fix things in an office. I wanted to take over his company one day and completely turn it around (I thought it was going to be as easy as fixing the internet at home. Haha) but of course apparently life has other plans. The entire time, I was never conscious of the impact of Appa’s actions on my choices in life although I am extremely close to him because explicitly, I believed that I wanted to grow up to be more like Amma since mothers always show you how fathers could have done so much better had they listened to the mothers, right? So, I would argue that the stuff they show you on TV about how daughters want to grow up to be like their fathers is so cliched and untrue.

It’s funny that after 28 years I realise that the whole time, Appa has indeed been my real superhero (more like he’s now finally the superhero status of Amma).

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